St. Priscilla is commemorated in Roman Martyrology. She dedicated most of her possessions and her activities to the service of martyrs. She is founder of what is likely the most ancient of the catacombs and probably donated the land on which they were built. St. Peter, the apostle, is thought to have used a villa belonging to her on the Via Salaria as his operational base in Rome. She seems to have been the wife of Manius Acilius Glabrio, who was put to death. And she is most likely the mother of the senator and martyr, St. Pudens.
In 98 A.D. St. Priscilla was placed in an amphitheater and a lion was set loose to attack her. Instead, the lion licked her feet. She was then returned to prison and killed. An eagle watched over her body until it was buried in her catacomb on Acentine hill. By the fourth century a church was dedicated at the site where her relics remain.
St. Priscilla is portrayed with a tame lion, an eagle, and in her hand a palm branch symbolizing martyrdom. Her feast day is January 16th.
Our parish and community was founded in the twenties of the past century. It all began when His Eminence, Cardinal George Mundelein, appointed Rev. Harold S. Trainor, Ph. D., to organize St. Priscilla parish on March 29, 1926. Father Trainor lead the first Holy Mass for our community on May 2, 1926 in a classroom of the partially completed Norman Bridge public school at North New England avenue and West Byron street. Moreover, with the help of the Sisters of Mercy of Park Ridge, who had organized a Sunday school, Father Trainor prepared children for the reception of their First, and the First in our parish, Holy Communion on July 3, 1927.
The church’s complex includes the church, the rectory, the school, and the convent buildings. The property itself was purchased at 7001 Addison street, and a temporary church was completed on July 4, 1926, when Mass was celebrated for the congregation. The school’s building had one floor, and it contained eight classrooms, two of which were occupied by four Sisters of the Order of St. Francis who had arrived from Rochester. Whereas, on March 11, 1929 a bungalow was moved onto parish property ready for use as a rectory. On September 30, 1939 the second floor of the school building has been completed, and the building served as school and church, and the bungalow served as a rectory since then.
In the next decades buildings were added to the parish after a new pastor was appointed. In July, 1935 his Eminence Cardinal Mundelein had appointed Pastor Joseph McGowan to succeed Father Trainor. Soon, Father McGowan resumed works on the parish’s buildings. On February 19, 1954 the sisters moved into their new convent building, and on December 25, 1957 midnight Mass was celebrated in the new Saint Priscilla church. During that time, the rectory was still located in the old bungalow, but on October 1, 1964 the priests took up residence in the new rectory.